Italian leader Meloni separates from her partner

Associated Press

ROME — Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni announced Friday that she is separating from her partner and the father of their young daughter after nearly a decade together.

In a statement posted on social media, Meloni said her relationship with Andrea Giambruno had ended. She said their paths had diverged “for some time.” But the announcement came after Giambruno, an on-air television personality, was caught on audio seemingly making lewd remarks to colleagues.

An Italian satirical news program, Striscia la Notizia, aired two nights’ worth of programming on Giambruno this week, using backstage clips and audio. Striscia is a primetime program of the Mediaset broadcaster of the late Silvio Berlusconi, whose Forza Italia party is a junior partner in Meloni’s government.

This week marks the first anniversary of Meloni’s government, Italy’s first headed by a woman and first hard-right-led administration since the end of World War II.

Meloni, who was raised by a single mother after her father abandoned the family, and Giambruno share 7-year-old Ginevra.

Meloni had previously described Giambruno as a “fantastic” and very present father who complemented her in caring for their daughter. In her 2021 memoir “I am Giorgia,” she said Giambruno wouldn’t balk if she was working and he had to step in, though she complained that he was messier than she.

She came to his defense last month after he suggested that women who go out dancing and get drunk shouldn’t be surprised if “wolves” attack them. Even though Italy at the time was convulsed over reports that two young girls had been gang raped, Meloni said Giambruno wasn’t excusing sexual predators and that her mother had taught her to similarly be cautious when going out.

In her statement, Meloni thanked Giambruno for their relationship and daughter and said she would defend their friendship. “And I will defend, at all costs, a 7-year-old girl who loves her mother and loves her father, as I was unable to love mine.”

She also hit back at the media coverage that preceded her announcement, blasting “all those who hoped to weaken me by hitting me at home.”

Several of her allies offered messages of solidarity. League leader Matteo Salvini, transport minister in her government, offered “my friendship and support. Onward, with your head held high,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

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